The Princess (2022) Review – Voices from the Balcony


The Princess opens with the main character (Joey King, The Conjuring, Welcome to the Blumhouse) waking up groggy to find herself locked in a tower with only vague memories of how she got there. Within minutes, she has to deal with a pair of ill-meaning soldiers, both of whom she dispatches quite violently with moves that include a deadly kick and a hairpin to the eye.

As you’ve probably heard, The Princess throws all notions of historical accuracy, or any kind of accuracy really out the window. Director Le-Van Kiet (The Requin, The Ancestral) takes Ben Lustig (The Thirst) and Jake Thornton and runs with it. After his last two films, he knew he had to repeat the success of his last hit, the female action film Furie. And he goes out of his way to do just that.

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With no male heir, the King (Ed Stoppard, Ruby Strangelove Young Witch, Blackwood) and Queen (Alex Reid, The Descent, The Facility) arrange a marriage between the Princess (which is how they are mentioned in the BTW credits) and Julius (Dominic Cooper, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Preacher) a friend’s son. But when she gets cold feet, Julius shows his true nature and asks his men to take over the castle.

Now it’s up to her to fight her way out of the tower and save her family and her country. Which leads to plenty of anachronistic and irreverent ass kicking. The results resemble what would happen if John Wickhad fathered a Disney Princess.

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It’s not the only movie the princess draws inspiration from, at times it echoes Die Hard as our heroine uses the castle’s secret passageways the way John McClane used air ducts to sneak past enemies. To others, it’s Robin Hood and The Raid as she sword fights up the stairs against an insane number of opponents. Eventually, she teams up with Linh (Veronica Ngo, Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, The Old Guard) the woman who taught her how to fight and they face the forces of Julius, whose whip is not the lesser. wielding wife Moira (Olga Kurylenko, Black Widow, White Elephant).

The Princess is definitely bloody enough to earn her “R” rating, but never too dark or serious for that matter. The closest is the expected father/daughter disagreement over a woman’s place. It’s also about as deep as plotting and characterization. This only installs the conflict and takes a step back. The closest we have to having a character arc is Julius proving he’s even worse than we thought.

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Instead, the film simply allows the choreographer to fight Kefi Abrikh (City Hunter, Fury) to deliver plenty of solid combat and action as his majesty fights his way through the opposing army. It’s nothing groundbreaking or memorable, but it’s exciting and there’s plenty of it. It also helped King do most of his own stunts, which meant fewer cuts and edits to hide a double stunt.

In the negative column, The Princess has green projection and truly horrifying CGI in scenes showing the exterior of the castle and the countryside around it. The same with the CGI blood splatters. He does, however, manage to pull off a nice decapitation with practical effects.

At its core, The Princess is the kind of light swordsman they used to make back in the day, updated with modern bloodshed. It’s not meant to be taken seriously, so don’t, enjoy it.

The Princess is currently available on Hulu and Disney+.

Where to watch The Princess

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